Property on Route 22 cleared of trees by developer

Property on Route 22 cleared of trees by developer

Vivian Chiang

On Oct. 1, 2019, a New Jersey developer cut down trees on their 14.3-acre lot and filed a lawsuit against the Township of Green Brook.
The legal battle between the developer and the township has been going on since 2014 when the developer applied to the Land Use Board to build three buildings on the land.
“The original plan included a Wawa, LA Fitness, and a third building for which there was no tenant,” the Township of Green Brook stated in a letter to their residents. “That original application was studied and discussed at public hearings for 18 months, and was ultimately denied by the Township’s Land Use Board in November of 2015.”
Their announcement sparked concern among residents and local organizations, who worried that the LA Fitness would bring danger to the customers, as it was right next to the highway and almost unreachable on foot.
In the ensuing legal battle, the developer announced that they wanted to change the zoning of the property to residential in order to build an apartment complex with over 300 units. It caused even more concern among the residents. They said that a large apartment complex would bring too many people to an already heavily populated and trafficked area.
There were also environmental concerns regarding the wildlife on the property. In addition to the abundance of trees on the lot, there are several heritage trees on the site, as well as a species of turtle on the endangered watchlist.
“Nobody in town is happy about the number of trees that will be removed as a result of this development, however, the property owner has the legal right to commercially develop the property through this series of applications and court cases,” the Township of Green Brook continued. “All Township Committee and Land Use Board meetings are open to the public, and the Township encourages you to attend.”